How many calories does surfing burn?

how many calories does surfing burn

The calories burned while surfing depend on your weight, surf conditions, temperature, the time between waves and many other variables.

The table below estimates the calories burned surfing in different wave heights and wind conditions.

Wave Size & ConditionsApproximate Calories Burned
Small (Clean/Offshore) Waves200
Small (Messy/Onshore) Waves500
Medium (Clean/Offshore) Waves300
Medium (Messy/Onshore) Waves600
Large (Clean/Offshore) Waves400
Large (Messy/Onshore) Waves
Please note the data in this table is based on 2 hours of surfing calories burned.
how many calories does surfing burn

Calories burned surfing

Now you’ve got a general idea of how many calories you’ll burn during a 2-hour surf, let’s take a look at why messy conditions are so much more taxing on your body and your energy reserves.

Small (Clean/Offshore) Waves: Calories Burned 200

Small, clean surf is great fun, and some of my best sessions have been in fun, chest-high conditions, but it’s not going to burn a lot of calories for a few reasons:

  • Small, clean surf leads to crowded lineups and fewer waves.
  • Paddle-outs are easy.
  • Opportunity for inside waves is reduced due to the small waves.

Small (Messy/Onshore) Waves: Calories Burned 500

Messy waves, even when small, lead to much more paddling.

The swell is closer together with low wave periods, and the onshore wind backing up the waves will make them break further out, leading to, you guessed it, longer paddle outs.

Medium (Clean/Offshore) Waves: Calories Burned 300

As waves get larger, you need to paddle further and duck dive more, even in clean conditions.

The increased wave height means you can often pick up inside waves on the paddle back out, burning more calories than minor, clean surf conditions.

surfer doing a front side carve on a a small wave

Medium (Messy/Onshore) Waves: Calories Burned 600

When the wave size increases, but the winds are still onshore, your paddle out can become quite a marathon.

This depends on the break you are surfing, but normally, messy onshore waves are closer together, meaning a lot more duck diving to reach the lineup.

Large (Clean/Offshore) Waves: Calories Burned 400

Surfing large waves poses its own set of potential hurdles.

Sets will sometimes break outside of the impact zone, leaving any surfers to try and paddle hard to the horizon to avoid getting pushed back towards shore.

Duck dives also become harder and harder as more water moves through the wave.

Bad timing can leave you being dragged back 10’s of metres into more incoming waves or worse a rocky coastline.

Large (Messy/Onshore) Waves: Calories Burned 700

Without a doubt, the most taxing conditions, large onshore waves, are a cardio challenge even for professional surfers.

Match the unpredictability of the waves with large peaks ranging across the lineup, and you have the recipe from some severe paddling just to stay at the take-off spot, let alone think about catching one.

Does surfing burn calories?

Yes, surfing and paddling are both energy-intensive exercises. The calories you burn will depend on how active you are in the ocean.

Paddling and catching lots of waves will significantly increase your energy consumption in the water.

How many calories do you burn surfing for one hour?

Based on head-high waves and clean offshore wind, you can expect to burn roughly 150 calories.

How many calories do you burn surfing for two hours?

Surfing in the same conditions for two hours, you can expect to burn roughly 300 calories.

Do you burn more calories surfing In Coldwater?

Yes, your body works harder to maintain its core temperature using thermoregulation, which requires extra energy for those cold water surf sessions.

When you get cold, shivering also adds to calorie burn. Even mild shivering can increase your body’s energy expenditure.